Our editorial project is to bring the writings and letters of Andreas Bodenstein, called Karlstadt, into a digital and critical age. Andreas Bodenstein, called after his home town Karlstadt, was one of the most influential protestant reformers in Wittenberg next to Luther. He was the first colleague to support Luther academically and publically, and he was the first to fall out with him. Karlstadt’s image in Reformation history has been ambivalent ever since. Considered a traitor by some, others have regarded him as a mediating figure into Swiss and Anabaptist circles.
The project to collect and edit Karlstadt’s scattered writings was a brain child of the Enlightenment. The great scholar Christian Thomasius first promoted the idea in 1705, and since then, several bibliographies, editions of individual texts, and biographical studies have appeared. Two hundred years after Thomasius, Hermann Barge published his two-volume study on the life and works of Karlstadt. Afterwards, several editions of selected writings (Kähler’s “Karlstadt und Augustin” and Hertzsch’s “Karlstadts Schriften”) and translations (such as Sider’s “Karlstadt’s Battle with Luther”, Furcha’s “The Essential Carlstadt”, and Burnett’s “The Eucharistic Pamphlets”) appeared. Around 1960, the challenge of a complete critical edition was considered by the “Verein für Reformationsgeschichte”. Ten years later, the greatest Karlstadt-scholar since Barge, Prof. Dr. Ulrich Bubenheimer, began to set new standards of research by identifying and interpreting previously unknown material.Since then, several bibliographical and editorial initiatives were made.
In 2012 forces were combined when Prof. Dr. Thomas Kaufmann, president of the “Verein für Reformationsgeschichte”, began to coordinate a long-term research project. Supported by the German Research Foundation (DFG), a joint cooperation of the Georg-August-University of Göttingen and the Herzog-August-Bibliothek in Wolfenbüttel (HAB) edits in chronological order the writings and letters of Karlstadt. A digital version is hosted by the HAB and presents the various pieces successively. A printed edition is going to follow. In the first of four triennial steps, the writings dating up to September 1518 will be made available.